From Curious to Serious: Using 3D to Qualify Virtual Design Services Leads

Quality leads can come at any point in the customer journey

Deliver the right tool at the right time to the right buyer – and net higher quality design services leads while building comprehensive lead profiles.

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Not all online design services leads have equal value. If you work for a furniture or home improvement retailer that offers design services, you know that quality design services leads can net big sales and that weak, unqualified leads can waste a lot of time.

After nearly a decade of studying and implementing design services lead generation programs in partnership with retailers in furniture and home improvement, we’ve learned a lot about what a quality design services lead looks like – and how use 3D applications to get the right shopper engaged in a design services process at the right time.

If you are looking for ways to provide a consistent stream of higher quality online design services leads to your design team, this framework is for you.

5 buying stages for configurable home projects

We have identified five buyer stages within the online shopping process for configurable home improvement and furniture purchases many of which directly utilize 3D tools.

  • I’m learning
  • I’m getting ideas
  • I’m budgeting
  • I’m narrowing my style and choices
  • I’m planning, visualizing, and pricing

Engagement in these stages is not discreet. Many shoppers will use multiple tools and those who interact with multiple tools during their buying journey are, in many cases, the highest quality leads. While the process of shopping for a kitchen remodel or furniture update shares common threads across shoppers, retailers should develop custom shopping stages based on what you know about your own business.

TIP: Map out user stages based on what you know about your own business.  

Behavioral data sharing across 3D applications

At what point does a learner, inspiration seeker, or budgeter turn into a “ready to buy” lead?

A mature 3D application and design services lead program will track shopper inputs and preferences across apps. Behavioral data sharing within the retailers ecosystem provides shoppers with a more intuitive, seamless experience and designers with customer preference profiles prior to engaging with the lead. This is a powerful tool that can be used in assessing buying signals and lead quality as well as product-level interest.

How does this work? For instance, style choices made in a room visualizer should be available to the same user during their room planner session.  Any budget parameters selected in a project calculator should affect the choices presented in a visualizer, and so on.

When an inbound design services lead is submitted, designers should receive a user profile of what tools customers used and their selections, giving them insight into budget, preferences, and buying stage. This can play a critical role in securing the sale.

TIP: To take your lead generation program to the next level, share behavioral data across applications.

The right apps for each buying stage

Retailers looking to develop full customer experience strategies need to evaluate the right mix of apps to support various buyer journeys.

3D has empowered consumers to self-guide, self-educate and make purchases that fit their timeline, convenience, and tastes without having to wrangle with salespeople or interior designers – unless that is what they want.  Even so, many consumers start with 3D self-service experiences but desire access to designer support when they are ready for it. These “ready for it” shoppers are the leads your design team is asking for. The sneaky part – there isn’t a singular path that a quality lead travels. It can be captured at any stage.

TIP: Map your customer experience buying stages to tools that support their need to self-guide with design services access as needed.

I’m learning

Lead Quality – ⭐

This is typically an early shopping stage where the user has identified a need but isn’t ready to launch a design yet. It requires a limited time investment and usually includes accessing content such as how-to guides, project best practices, and measurement tips.


  • How-to guides
  • Best practices
  • Measurement tips

I’m getting ideas

Lead Quality – ⭐ ⭐


  • Inspirational photos
  • Project guides
  • Before and after galleries

In this stage, shoppers start researching trends and can look at hundreds or even thousands of images searching for ideas that resonate with them. This stage may come in one or more 15-minute as the shopper collects ideas that will lead them into the next buying stage.

I’m budgeting

Lead Quality – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


  • Project surveys
  • Project calculators
  • Pricing guides

Ready to start thinking about what their project will cost and what kinds of materials and finishes they’ll be able to afford, budgeting requires a 30 minute-plus time investment and can include accessing interactive content such as project surveys, project calculators and pricing guides.

I’m narrowing my style and choices

Lead Quality – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


  • Room visualizers
  • Product configurators
  • Before and after galleries
  • WebAR-enabled 3D product page visuals

In this stage, shoppers have a good sense of where they want to go and are ready to start exploring and selecting styles, materials, and finishes. This stage involves a time investment of 30 – 45 minutes and helps them to solidify their vision and interpret it through specific products.

I’m planning, visualizing, and pricing

Lead Quality – ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


  • 3D room planners
  • Virtual design help
  • HD room renders
  • WebAR-enabled 3D product page visuals

In this stage, shoppers are on the cusp of a purchase. They are willing to put in an hour plus to start laying out their own kitchens, merchandising their own spaces, and designing their own sectionals. This is a high-quality lead that a virtual design service is likely to convert into a major, multi-item purchase.

How to use the 3D Cloud Virtual Design Services Lead Quality Framework

  • Understand which 3D apps work best for which buying stage
  • Use it to develop and evaluate 3D app investments tied to design services lead generation.
  • Educate your team on the interplay between buying stages, 3D applications, and design services lead quality.

3D Cloud Virtual Design Services Lead Quality Framework

3D Cloud Virtual Design Services Lead Quality Framework

Download Framework Template
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Ready to get started with a 3D project?

For a complete guide to launching a 3D project, visit our 3D Project Planning Resource Center or contact us to request a 3D project consultation.

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